Below, we find out just what makes Chrysalis at Tynedale in Northumberland so important...
What is the charity’s background and objects?
Chrysalis at Tynedale (HOME | Chrysalis Tynedale (chrysalis-tynedale.org.uk) was born in 2009 when an art class for people with dementia proved to be a popular, more flexible option than day care. Chrysalis was founded by three people with extensive management experience in specialist dementia care. Chrysalis at Tynedale was registered as a charity in May 2016.
Formally, the charity’s stated objects are to promote and protect the good health of people living with dementia in Tynedale and the surrounding areas, their families and carers, through a support group and other activities, services, advice and information.
In short, Chrysalis provides an activities club for people living with dementia and ongoing memory problems. It includes their families, friends and support workers. Since they formed, they have gone from strength to strength, building up their membership of people with dementia and their families. They provide an increasing range of tutored activities (often suggested by members) each week and group support for families.
Refreshingly honest, those that run the charity state that they are learning all the time from their members and their families because, as they firmly believe, they are the real experts. As they are not part of any statutory service, Chrysalis can think creatively, act quickly and tailor the support they offer to suit individual families.
What does the charity actually do?
The charity operates from its very own premises at Unit 1, Dene Park, Corbridge Road in Hexham and offers a weekly, varied menu of dementia-friendly activities for its members, including singing, art, pottery, indoor & outdoor golf, boccia, gardening and archery.
As well as learning new things, members enjoy socialising, competing together in a friendly way and have a good laugh in a safe, non-judgemental environment. As people make friends and become more confident, they often come to more sessions.
However, this charity is particularly proud of the fact that when someone becomes a Chrysalis member, the whole family is involved. This means everyone can be part of the club, contribute, have a say and see how the person they care about is getting on. As such, family members/carers can come to sessions or take time out. The charity is there to help anyone in the family at any stage, from pre-diagnosis onwards.
The charity also has a monthly Family Members Support Group. This is a chance for family members to share their experiences and gain valuable information. There's also an informal coffee & chat group for family members no longer attending Chrysalis.
The charity is also insistent that members don’t need to come to sessions regularly to be part of Chrysalis. Until they say otherwise, members remain members, even if they haven’t been along to the centre for a while.
What is the structure of the charity?
The Chrysalis Board consists of 6 members, who are all volunteers with a mix of skills. Most have direct experience of dementia, either from their families or working lives. What they all have in common is their enthusiasm for Chrysalis and their pride in what they have created.
Chrysalis is managed day to day by a team of over 30 volunteers and a part-time co-ordinator. Volunteers are also members of Chrysalis, as they are at the heart of the support that the charity provides.
The development of the Board has been supported by Northumberland County Council Social Enterprise staff, providing invaluable expertise and the Board are very grateful for all their support.
The Board also recognises the need to have strong partnerships with the local community and has established really strong links with organisations such as: the local NHS Memory Clinic, Minsteracres, Wylam Nurseries, Corbridge Dementia-Friendly Community project, Co-op, The Torch Centre, Evaston Bowling Club, St John's Church (Stocksfield & Bywell) and Samaritans to name but a few!
What about the immediate future?
Trying to get back to normal service as the pandemic restrictions ease is the first step and the charity was delighted to announce at the end of last month that they had taken their first small steps in welcoming their members back to face to face meetings in a Covid-secure environment!
In addition, the charity will ensure that all of their members will be receiving invites to join up in small groups so that they can all get used to being out and about and having fun while staying safe.
This charity has an outstanding reputation and standing in the communities that it serves. The community residents and the charity’s private and public sector partners all acknowledge and appreciate the positive impact that Chrysalis at Tynedale has.
Here at Social Responsibility, we are genuinely humbled by the awesome contributions that small charities make to our local communities. We are proud to highlight the brilliant work that Chrysalis at Tynedale undertakes. We celebrate their work and we genuinely wish all of the team at Chrysalis all the very best in the coming year!